Excerpt About Survival Instinct

Understanding Instinctual Functioning

We can understand instinctual functioning by observing it in the human infant. For the infant, only the survival instinct is developed and fully operative. It uses a fundamental aspect of essence for its operation, based in the first chakra. This aspect is that of strength and activity, which at the beginning of life is very closely aligned to the operation of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). At that time this aspect of essence operates in cooperation with another fundamental aspect of essence, the merging aspect, which is closely aligned with the operation of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS. When the infant is distressed, hungry or in pain, the strength essence floods the organism, and the sympathetic branch of the ANS is activated. This is expressed in activity—crying, thrashing, and so on. This brings the mothering person, who then by her caretaking ministrations removes the distress, by feeding or whatever. The stress is discharged, bringing about the dominance of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS, which goes along with flooding the organism with the merging essence, with its contented and quiet rest.

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